The Goffin cockatoo

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Physical cognition in ‘brainy’ birds such as parrots represents a promising topic in a formerly largely ‘primato-centric’ scientific orientation. 

Goffin’s cockatoos (or Tanimbar Corella, Cacatua goffiniana) are remarkable for their inquisitiveness as well as their sophisticated object manipulation. They play with objects intensively and in an intrinsically organized manner, combining them in various ways. 

 
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In our previous experiments 4 they have shown high level performances in a variety of cognitive problems such as invisible displacement, delay of gratification and inference by exclusion and they have proved skilled at solving technical tasks that require the acquisition of novel sensorimotor patterns outside their typical repertoire.

Notably, they are also surprisingly skilful in various tasks involving the use and manufacture of tools matching, in some aspects, the skills of habitually tool-using birds such as the New Caledonian crow. This is particularly interesting as the Goffin is not dependent on tool-obtained and is unlikely to be a habitual tool user in the wild.

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The Goffin is an island species endemic to the small Tanimbar archipelago in Indonesia. Its population size in the wild is presently at least 300,000 birds.

It is a feeding generalist and it likely that it possesses domain general intelligence supported by a rich knowledge base of affordances within its environment.

The information used during problem-solving seems to be acquired through playful manipulation, and can be recruited when necessary, most likely by an executive cognitive function.

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Goffin Lab